6:35pm Monday 10th March 2014
By Stuart Minting
HORRIFIC images of the last moments of the life of an HGV driver who was helping to unload steel rods from his truck have been shown at an inquest.
Sheffield Coroners Court heard Robert Ismay, of Melbourne Place, Sowerby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire had been making his first delivery of the day on December 6, 2012, when the tragedy unfolded.
Coroner Siobhan Kelly said the 42-year-old father-of-three had driven to South Yorkshire and had parked his truck in the street opposite steel rod manufacturer Daver Steels, in Sheffield, when it was decided Mr Ismay's load of 7.5m-long steel tubes should be unloaded there, rather than the firm's loading bay.
At the start of an eight-day hearing, the jury was shown CCTV footage of the experienced lorry driver walking around his truck, carefully unfastening tarpaulin sheeting covering a stacked range of large steel parts.
After Mr Ismay, who had been employed by steel stockholders and processing centre Tomrods Ltd, of Thirsk, to deliver the load, climbed on to the back of his truck and methodically removed the sheeting, a forklift truck was driven to the opposite site of the lorry.
The jury saw the section of the truck where Mr Ismay was standing become unstable, before he fell backwards as huge tubes rolled off the top of the stack.
It had been loaded by Merseyside-based firm NW Trading Ltd.
Within a few seconds, Mr Ismay was lying on the pavement underneath the tubes.
The footage then showed the forklift truck driver walking round the truck to see what had happened, and finding Mr Ismay, who had suffered numerous injuries, including a fractured skull.
Paramedics were called to the scene, but were unable to revive Mr Ismay, and he was pronounced dead at 1.55pm.
Pathologist Dr Julian Burton said he had died immediately of multiple injuries. Toxicology tests confirmed Mr Ismay had not consumed drugs or alcohol.
The hearing was told Dr Richard Hiles, of Lambert Medical Practice, Sowerby, confirmed that Mr Ismay had an excellent record of health, but stated it was possible his left leg could have given way due to a cruciate ligament injury he had sustained while playing football 16 years ago.
Mr Ismay's widow, Michelle, said he had put off corrective surgery to maintain his business and that she had never known him to experience difficulties with his leg.
She said: "Robert was aware as he got older that his knee was going to cause him problems.
"He would still play with the children and wrestle with them on the floor, which he would not have done if he had any problems with his knee."
The inquest is expected to hear from almost 30 witnesses and evidence is expected to focus on loading and unloading procedures.
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